These are the biryani facts one has to ponder. There are more than 200 verities of biryani. To name a few Awadhi mutton biryani, the lightly spiced Kerala fish biryani, the classic Hyderabadi biryani, Karnatakas bhatkali, the fragrant Kashmiri Biryani, spicy chettinad. The succulent Haryaly and the rare East India mutton stew biryani. Biryani was invented in the time of the Mughal  Emperor Humayun (AD 1552),although other experts claim that it can be traced Timur’s invention of India in 1398.In any case it is accepted that biryani is a mixture of the Indian tradition of Khichadi, and Persian saga of the aromatic pulao.

Here we get into a sort of controversy. What is the difference between biryani and pulao as both of them have rise as their main ingredient. According to cuisine expert Dr Katy Dalal, “How a pulao subtly differs from a biryani, is that its base is formed with meat stock, in which rise and spices are stirred in and cooked, where as with biryani, the paraboiled rice is layered between the spices and the meat. Before the final cooking, pulao tends to have quite a bit of gravy in it, whereas biryani tends to be dry.”

Over the years biryani has been modified and refind, even starting the era of the lesser known biryani - the vegetable biryani. Some chefs claim that this biryani was started for vegetarian in the court of Mughals. But it was only in the 1900’s that the vegetarian version of the biryani stared its upward swing. One particular factor for this biryani is that, vegetable is prepared in a separate kitchen. You should not use the same kitchen.lest the aroma of the ‘veg and non-veg’ foods mingle.thus spoiling the ‘nuance’ for the connoisseur.

The crux of biryani lies in marination and the ‘Dum’ (Steaming with live coals).This method of cooking ensures that the aroma is retained as this plays a very important role in enhancing the flavor of the dish. Whole garam masala and onion are the essential requisites; they form the base of a biryani. To enhance the flavor, you can add the saffron for colour and the curds for a touch of tanginess. The two major variations in the biriyani are kachchi and pakki. The difference lies in the preparation and the pre cooking respectively.The kachchi biryani is made with uncooked meat and the marination time for the meat for this preparation varies from 90 min-360 min. The marinate includes raw papaya peel, curd, spices and condiments. Some chefs use black and white pepper instead of red chilly powder. 

The par boiled rice and the marinated meat are then arranged in layers with mint leaves, fried onion and saffron as garnish between the layers ; the handi (pot) is then sealed and then handi is allowed to steam between layer of live embers. The seal of the handi is broken only during the meals time and the delicious smell of the biryani is allowed to waft in dining hall whetting the appetite of the dunners.

The pakki biryani is made similarly except for the fact that meat is pre-cooked before before being arranged in layers for the dum. Of course, the marination process and the marinade considerably differ for the both biryani.

For the vegetarians the kathal biryani made with jackfruit is a wonderful substitute for meat. Tahiri biryani has an unusual combination of  vegetable and kabuli chana and guchchi biryanis have vegetarians coming back for more. Ananas ka Mussafar is a sweet biryani, which can actually be served as a dessert. Its preparation mode is the same as the regular biryani. It is served with pineapple slices.

There is basically no low calorie biryani.100 grams of standard biryani has 250 calories as compared to 100 calories for plain rice. At the most you can replace the usual dalda and ghee the is used with light olive oil. That as much as one can do to reduce the fat content of the biryani without compromising on the flavor and taste of the dish.

Biryani can be eaten for lunch as well as dinner. However, it is a dish to be eaten for lunch as well as dinner. However, it is a dish to be eaten in a very relaxed mood as you must savour the dish to truly enjoy in the traditional way. Normally biryani is served with raita and salad.The ideal dessert after a biryani would be shahni tukda (which is called the Indian bread pudding.)

Then comes the great question…… which is the king among biryani,the Hyderabadi one or its first cousin the Lucknowi one, because the cuisine of Hyderabad and Lucknow have a strong influence on the biryani. Further, you must differentiate between these two.

The word Nawabi biryani is as synonymous with the Hyderabadi cuisine as shahi is with Lucknowi. These terms conjure delicacies that are rich in taste and texture with mouth–watering aromas.Among these top rival varieties, Gosht dum biryani and kachche gosht ki biryani. Lucknowi dum biryani and Hyderabadi gosht biryani are among the most famous.

In these two rivals , all ingredients are cooked together and it takes almost double the preparation time as for others, like kashmiri, mughlai or bohri biryani in which all ingredients are cooked separately and then mixed in different layers with traces of saffron on top and bits of silver foil. Biryani is truly a preparation.


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